Charles Leclerc: No nerves, but no target ahead of Ferrari debut
No nerves. No particular target. That’s the approach Ferrari newcomer Charles Leclerc is taking as he gears up for his first start in red overalls at next weekend’s Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix.
Leclerc has been part of Ferrari’s junior scheme since 2016, taking back-to-back titles in GP3 and Formula 2, and put in sufficiently eye-catching displays during his rookie Formula 1 campaign with Sauber to earn a Ferrari seat for 2019.
Leclerc finished pre-season testing as the third-fastest driver, with his best time just 0.010s down on Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel, as the pair were split by Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton.
“Nervous? No,” said Leclerc on the upcoming Australian Grand Prix. “Obviously the aim is to do the best job possible.
“I think we’ve done a good job during the tests. As I’ve said, the road is still long and to start a new adventure with a new team always takes a bit of time.
“But I hope to be as ready as possible. I will train hard, still, in the next few weeks just before Australia physically and try to be sure to be at my best mentally also to try and do the best result possible.
“But in terms of result, I don’t have any particular target.”
Leclerc’s arrival at Ferrari also means he is working with more people compared to at Sauber, and also faces the challenge of working alongside four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel.
““To be completely honest for now we have had the same feedback on the car,” said Leclerc.
“We are driving quite differently for now then we will see at the first race in qualifying. We have different driving styles but in the end the feedback is the same so that’s good for the team.”
“But I can learn from him a lot: how he works with the team, Ferrari is a big team with many people.
“So yeah, I still need to get used to so many people and yeah just the way he works with the team and his feedback is also extremely good so these things I can definitely learn from him.”
Should Leclerc win a Grand Prix this year then he is set to be the third-youngest to do so in the history of the championship.
Only Max Verstappen (aged 18) and current Ferrari team-mate Vettel (21) have won a Grand Prix before the age of 22 – a milestone Leclerc will not reach until October.